The leaders of the Senate Veterans' Affairs Committee announced a bipartisan agreement on comprehensive legislation that will provide toxic-exposed veterans with healthcare and benefits.

Chairman Jon Tester (D-MT) and ranking member Jerry Moran (R-KS) released a joint statement on the deal on Wednesday, saying they, the Biden administration, and the Veterans Service Organizations had negotiated for more than a year before this agreement.


“This bipartisan legislation is the most comprehensive toxic exposure package the Senate has ever delivered to veterans in this country’s history,” they said.

The Sergeant First Class Heath Robinson Honoring Our PACT Act of 2022 will expand VA healthcare eligibility for post-9/11 combat veterans, 3.5 million of which were exposed to toxins, create a framework for the establishment of future similar services, strengthen federal research on toxic exposure, improve the Department of Veterans Affairs’s resources, and expand related conditions to the VA’s list of service presumptions.

“For far too long, our nation’s veterans have been living with chronic illnesses as a result of exposures during their time in uniform,” the lawmakers added. “Today, we’re taking necessary steps to right this wrong with our proposal that’ll provide veterans and their families with the health care and benefits they have earned and deserve. In addition to providing historic relief to all generations of toxic-exposed veterans, this legislation will improve claims processing to meet the immediate and future needs of every veteran it serves.”

The White House supports the proposed deal.

White House press secretary Karine Jean-Pierre called the agreement “an important step” and said this legislation “will not only help deliver more timely access to benefits and services for veterans and their survivors, it will also ensure that the Department of Veterans Affairs can act more nimbly to add future presumptive conditions when the evidence warrants. And, the legislation will help VA provide our veterans the level of service they deserve.” 

Burn pits were often used to burn waste ranging from mundane trash to munitions to hazardous material and chemical compounds at military sites in Afghanistan and Iraq. The military stopped doing this more than a decade ago, according to CNN.


The exposure from burn pits is frequently discussed as the post 9/11 generation’s Agent Orange, which was a powerful herbicide that the U.S. used during the Vietnam War.  

Should the bill pass, it would also make getting care for exposure to Agent Orange easier as well.